NOVEMBER 15, 2018
India offered to import more oil and gas from the US and highlighted the potential for American defence firms to set up shop in India during a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US vice president Mike Pence in Singapore on Wednesday.
The two leaders also discussed counter-terror cooperation, with Modi saying the mainstreaming of people involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in Pakistan’s political process should be a matter of concern for the world community.
Modi referred to contributions of the Indian-American community in the economic, cultural and political spheres over the decades and expressed the hope this would be considered when the US “looks at the whole issue of the H1B visa”, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale told a media briefing after the meeting.
Gokhale said the two leaders had a “good” and “very positive” meeting ahead of the East Asia Summit (EAS).
A White House readout said Pence “encouraged free, fair and reciprocal trade”, and Gokhale said the two sides focused on the new trade relationship India is forging with the US.
In an apparent effort to address the US administration’s trade deficit concerns, the Prime MINISTER pointed out that since President Donald Trump assumed office, the US exports to India had grown by 50%, and India was perhaps the only one of the top ten nations with a trade deficit with the US.
The Indian side referred to its oil and gas imports from the US, expected to be valued at $4 billion this year, and expressed its readiness to import more of the commodities “as a way of expanding our trade”, Gokhale said.
Modi said there was a “great opportunity” for the US to make military equipment and set up defence industries in India.
“Not only that India is a substantial market but because the way we are placed regionally, we can become a hub for exports to the rest of the region,” Gokhale said.
The White House readout said the two leaders reiterated the importance of “advancing our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific”.
While discussing terrorism, Pence referred to the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Mumbai attacks and appreciated cooperation in this field.
Modi pointed out that the “mainstreaming of the people involved in the Mumbai terror attacks in a political process which had taken place in a recent election in Pakistan should be a matter of serious concern not just to the two countries…but to the international community”, Gokhale added.